By Fred Lobo
President Duterte has called for the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year.
More time needed to manage and keep Southern Philippines safe, Malacañang said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed that Malacañang has transmitted to Congress its request for martial law extension as wished by the President.
“There is already a letter (to Congress). Recommendation is one year,” he said.
Medialdea added that the President will formally make the recommendation to Congress before the Legislative Branch goes into its Christmas break on December 15, he said..
Translation: DU30 to formally appeal for ML extension using his personal appeal.
House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas said the letter has been delivered to the House of Representatives and the Senate for their immediate action.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez assured that the matter will be given due attention, he added.
Medialdea said that if extended for another year, martial law will still cover the entire island of Mindanao, just like the original proclamation of the President last May.
“Yes (it will cover entire Mindanao),” he pointed out.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that the need to extend martial law in Mindanao was recommended to the President by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“PRRD’s paramount concern is the security of our people especially the Mindanaoans in the face of threats and the use of available means under the law to fight them,” Roque said.
He recalled that Duterte declared martial law in the entire island of Mindanao last May 23 when the war against the Islamic State-inspired terrorists led by the Maute group erupted.
The 60-day implementation period lapsed on July 22, 2017, and Congress granted Duterte’s recommendation to extend it until the end of the year.
Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro and Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano immediately expressed all-out support to the extension of martial law.
“I support the possible extension not because the threat is still there but, actual hostilities against by allied terrorists are still there. Martial law should be given the chance to complete its purpose,” Castro said.
“If there’s a need to eradicate these lawless elements using the AFP then why not.This is the time to do it with the AFP in high morale. Support of the civilians to soldiers is at their peak,” Albano added.
Timing is everything, as the saying goes.
The AFP earlier explained that ML extension is needed due to reports of terrorist recruitment, increase in violent incidents involving the New People’s Army (NPA), and the existence of armed groups including the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
“We still face significant violent activities that are possible from the groups of the BIFF over in Maguindanao, Lanao and Cotabato as well as the threats brought about by the continued existence of ASG forces in the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi,” former AFP Spokesman Restituto Padilla said.
The AFP, however, assured the public that there will be no human rights abuses under their watch in case Congress grants the second extension.
Assurance accepted but subject to monitoring, progressive groups would say.
Meanwhile, Malacañang assured that the Duterte administration is working hard to ensure that every Filipino would benefit from the country’s progress.
The poor and the marginalized, especially, it said.
Roque said on the observance of Human Rights Day that the Philippines is an active member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
PH will continue to respect human rights as State policy is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, he reiterated.
“The Duterte administration works hard with the best interest of every Filipino, especially the poor and the marginalized and most vulnerable, as its main concern,” Roque said in a statement.
Assurance accepted. Favorable results awaited.
Roque said the best way to do address the plight of the people is to ensure government efficiency and effectiveness that will translate to every Filipino getting a fighting chance to overcome poverty and live a life with higher dignity.
Yes to progress and dignity for Filipinos!